YEREVAN (Arka.am) — France’s Ambassador to Armenia Jonathan Lacôte called for resumption of negotiations on the settlement of the Nagorno- Karabakh conflict, determination of its status, and also praised Russia for its role in the region.

In an interview with the Armenian language service of the RFE/RL (Radio Azatutyun), the French diplomat said that today it is Russia that ensures the security of the Armenians of Nagorno- Karabakh.

“If it were not for the Russian (peacekeeping) troops, there would be no Armenians in Karabakh now,” the diplomat said.

According to him, the statement of November 9, 2020 (signed by the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan to end all hostilities in the conflict zone) resulted in the ceasefire, which is generally observed, but eight months later it is obvious that this document does not solve all the problems.

“Some of its provisions, in particular, on the release of prisoners of war (held in Azerbaijan) are not fully observed. And in general, the statement of November 9 does not say anything about the future status of Karabakh. The statement was a stage, however, now it is necessary to strengthen peace, the ceasefire regime and start a political process between Armenia and Azerbaijan under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group,” Jonathan Lacôte said.

The ambassador pointed also out the fact that after the last autumn war in Karabakh Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan has become several hundred kilometers longer.

In his words, the Karabakh issue as a whole has not been resolved. ‘Therefore, we are in favor of starting a political process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which the Minsk Group co-chairs are called upon to accompany. At present, the OSCE Minsk Group is the only body recognized by all parties dealing with these issues,” said the ambassador.

In his words, the best guarantee of security for Armenia and the region is the settlement of these points through negotiations.

The French ambassador also explained the refusal of his colleague in Azerbaijan to visit the town of Shushi (now controlled by Azerbaijan) with other several dozen foreign diplomats, organized by Baku on July 9-10.

“The reality is that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh should be determined through negotiations within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. Until this status is determined, neither the French ambassador to Baku, nor the French ambassador to Yerevan can visit Karabakh. In Baku, my colleague does not go to Shushi, neither I go to Stepanakert,” explained the ambassador.

He added that all the co-chairing countries of the Minsk Group (USA, Russia, France) adhere to this position.

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